Gay parties know their niche: mainstream clubs are fun, but they can also be tacky. Consequently, each of these parties aims to attract a slice of the gay-cool spectrum, whether that's well manicured bears in tight T-shirts, or alternative queer femmes ready for a night on the town. En-masse, drawn like some disco inspired cult, these cliques descend upon these nights to party into the early morning.
Like anything worth going to nowadays, finding out about these parties can be tricky if you don't know what you are looking for. Information for these events is found online through social media and on subversive posters of topless men in matinee hats, and women with moustaches, plastered around Inner Melbourne.
John Cover Charge: $10 - 15 Location:Liberty Social Day and Frequency: Public Holidays and Saturdays; Monthly
John puts a commendable amount of creativity into its publicity, posting artistic homo-erotic photos for each of its parties. It's a Bear meets Berlin vibe that draws an older crowd, and while the club music fits into that vibe, it isn't music that is easily danced to. Also – regardless of whether it is winter or summer – the club is always swelteringly hot, so dress accordingly. This night picks up fairly late, so aiming for just south of twelve will hold you in good stead.
Swagger is a gay RnB night, held at the same venue as Poof Doof. Picking up around the 11-12 mark, Swagger trails off quickly and is almost empty by 3-4 o'clock. Expect to hear a mash up of current RnB mixed with classic 80's and 90's tunes. To be honest, I was expecting to find a club filled with intense break dancers, but the crowd here was refreshingly relaxed. They might not all be hardcore afficiandos, but most of the people here probably have jogging playlists stacked with Beyonce.
Imagine a night filled with kids just out of university and you basically have Closet. From the outside the venue looks tiny, but it opens up pretty dramatically once you reach the top of the stairs. Closet has a more relaxed, social vibe about it; even so, by 11-12 the dance floor will be fairly busy - although it never reaches the same intensity as other nights. Their selection of indie-pop and retro songs, unfortunately, also tends to be a bit hit and miss.
The most indie of the gay nights, Grouse is a sweaty mess of guys,girls and thumping dance tunes. Of all the gay nights Grouse's play list sprawls the most, ranging from Eminem to back to back Beyonce-Britney. It's The Rochester meets Lady Gaga, housed in a dive bar (in the best way).